BWW Reviews: DAMN YANKEES at BayWay - A Great Shot At A Classic
The BroadHollow Theatre Company certainly put forth a noble effort in their production of the Tony Award winning Damn Yankees. However, this Jessey Waller directed incarnation, now playing at BayWay in East Islip through May 6th, didn't quite hit the ball out of the park.
In George Abbott and Douglass Wallop's Damn Yankees, Joe Boyd (Manning Dandridge) is beyond upset that his beloved Washington Senators baseball team is, once again, on a losing streak. So he decides to sell his soul to the devil if the Senators win the pennant. Enter the devil, Mr. Applegate (Mike Cesarano). Soon Joe Boyd temporarily leaves his wife, Meg (Heddy Zirin), to become Joe Hardy (Brian Gill) the new, young slugger the Senators desperately need. In the deal with the devil, Hardy has until the night of the final game to walk away returning to his normal life.
While the large cast of 30 sounded fantastic, there was little emotional connection between the cast and audience. I wasn’t brought into their world. It was as if the cast were going through the motions as rehearsed. They seemed to be concentrating too much on places than bringing these people to life. They didn't have me believing they "were" each their respective roles.
The music, by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, was great from up-beat to beautifully heart tugging. Among the favorites was "Six Months Out Of Every Year" which got a rousing round of applause. Also fun was "Shoeless Joe From Hannible, MO" which had a country line dancing feel performed by Gloria, portrayed by Kate Keating, and the men of the Senators baseball team, even incorporating a tap dance piece in the performance. One of the few emotional points was "A Man Doesn't Know" performed by Joe Hardy and Meg Boyd. You could sense the pain each was feeling; Meg overwrought with worry not knowing where her husband is and Hardy yearning to be back to his normal life.
The set was also effective, albeit minimal. A green, light up baseball diamond donned the back curtain and a set of bleachers were rolled out when they were at the game. Two old, comfy chairs and an antique side table were used for the home of Joe and Meg Boyd. And they rolled out lockers filled with baseball gear that they used for the Senators locker room scenes.
Was this the strongest showing of Damn Yankees? No. However, BroadHollow's production provides an opportunity to become familiar with a Tony winning classic in addition to supporting a community theatre company with a lot of “heart”.
Damn Yankees is presented by the BroadHollow Theatre Company now playing through May 6th at BayWay in East Islip, NY. Book by George Abbot & Douglass Wallop, Music by Richard Adler & Jerry Ross, Directed and Choreographed by Jessy Waller, Musical Direction by Kristen Keller, Set Design by Sal Perrotta, Lighting Design by Meghan Santelli, Sound Design by Gary Haglich, Costume Design by Jason Allyn. For more information, please call 631-581-2700 or visit www.broadhollow.org. Opening also at their Elmont location on May 12th.